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Brothels ring boss waits in sentence delay

A MAN who admitted running a network of brothels in Dublin has had his sentencing adjourned until Friday.

Mark McCormick (26) of Ballaghbeg Park, Newcastle, was described as being "at the top of the ladder" in an organised prostitution ring that spanned the breadth of Dublin city.

McCormick pleaded guilty to seven counts of acting or assisting in the management of a brothel at six locations in Dublin city centre on various dates between November 6, 2005 and April 3, 2006.

A co-accused, Duane Killen (37) of Oldtown Road, Annalong, Newry, was given a suspended sentence last March for his role in renting Dublin apartments to be used as brothels.

Detective Garda Larry Duggan told Mr Sean Guerin, prosecuting, that McCormick, who was just 22 at the time of the offences, was among the subjects of a major garda investigation into the online advertisement of prostitution known as Operation Quest.

Det Gda Duggan told Mr Guerin that as part of their investigations gardai raided a number of premises and placed several people under surveillance, including McCormick.

On March 8 2006, McCormick was brought to Store Street Garda Station after he was observed having lunch with Killen and taking a brown envelope from him.

During an interview with McCormick, gardai obtained a key for an apartment at the Gasworks building on South Lotts Road, which Det Gda Duggan described as the "nerve centre" of the operation.

At the apartment gardai found a laptop computer, which was open and logged on to an Irish escorts website.

Det Gda Duggan agreed with Mr Remy Farrell, defending, that McCormick's plea of guilty saved the court proceeding with a trial which would have been of great complexity.

Mr Farrell reminded the court that McCormick had pleaded not guilty to directing prostitution and strenuously denied any involvement in this.

Judge Hunt remanded McCormick on continuing bail until sentencing on Friday May 14th and directed that he surrender his passport to Dundalk Garda Station.